Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2nd Division Vittoria 1813 - Portuguese and British Infantry cont.

After faffing around with cavalry, it's time to finish my stalled British Peninsular War project. I currently have two and a bit brigades of infantry from Daddy Hill's 2nd Division from the Vittoria OB. I have to paint two more Portuguese battalions and 3 more British regiments; 
  • 2/6th Portuguese Regiment (red cuffs, dark blue collar)
  • 2/18th Portuguese Regiment (light blue cuffs, dark blue collar)
  • 1st Provisional Battalion (2/31st & 2/66th) (buff and yellow-green, respectively)
  • 1/57th Foot Regiment (pale yellow)
  • 1/39th Foot Regiment (pea green)
Facing information from Napoleonguide

24th Regiment (similar facings as 18th, except dark blue collar) 
Following images from of Queen's Royal Surreys
Grenadier 2/31st

Centre Company infantryman in forage cap 2/31st

(l to r) Grenadier and Centre Company Officers 2/31st

The provisional battalion will feature the uniforms from both battalions and, as it is a provisional unit of two 2nd battalions, will not feature flags. I'll also probably have to rate them lower than a full 1st battalion to reflect the lower cohesion of mixing two battalions together. Ordinarily, a 2nd battalion is rated lower than a 1st battalion in our rules, but as both fought tenaciously with distinction at Albuera and were decimated as a result, I won't be giving them a double whammy for being a provisional battalion AS WELL AS 2nd battlions. 

It was a mark of how much Wellington valued them that they weren't sent back to Britian to recruit and refit. He didn't want to lose 2 prime, experienced battalions at the expense of one full but inexperienced 1st battalion.

I'll be using the SHQ metal figures for my Portuguese (which I only found recently in my Metal Mountain & Plastic Pile after misplacing them for a while!) and the lovely HaT Peninsular War British Infantry

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peninsular War British Heavy Dragoons

These have been a while coming!

 We've finally had some really heavy rain, the first in about 3 months, and it hasn't been good weather for varnishing, I tell you. I had the first week of the school holidays off while my wife worked, and she's had this week off work while I went back for the 4 days before Easter. Anyway, the first few days of the holidays it rained for something  like 4 days straight. The air was extremely humid and affected the sparay varnish dramatically; all the figures I tried to varnish in that period got the Retreat from Moscow look, covered in white snow!

As a result I had to resort to FMB's and Panzer Kaput's patented olive oil repair trick to recover the damage, but was a little heavy handed in the application of the oil. Despite acouple of coats of matt varnish, they remain slightly glossier than I like.

So, below are the 4th Queen's Own Dragoons ready for service!

And because it's Good Friday, here's a picture of a Hot Cross Bunny (Oh, I'm a sinner, I know!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is Nothing Sacred?!

Some of the loot stolen, including Boney's hair!
I was alerted to this story by La Petite Rosbif #1.

Don't they have any respect?! What is the world coming to, I ask you? The youth of today need more discipline, I tell you! When I was young...

Well, it seems more like it was a theft to order, as the nature of the items means they can't be flogged at the local pub for a knock down price without tipping off the fuzz.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Hovercraft is Full of Eels - Part 2

In the second week running I maanged to make it to the club. Huzzah!

As it was the club sales night, I suggested a scenario with a reduced points list for everyone so that we could get a game in after perusing the wares on offer. I picked up a Roman style church from Garry for my Comitatus project after telling myself I wouldn't buy anything!

The scenario I came up with was a simple King of the Hill style of game: The Anglo-Allies had to prevent the French from taking the ridge line in order to protect the strategic road. If the French could force the allies off the ridge and set up their artillery, then they win; If the allies prevent the French from gaining the ridge, then the allies win; If the ridge is still in dispute, then it's a draw.

The players were the same as the previous week, with the only change being Vana in place of Paul. Again I paternered Pete with his Brunswickers and faced John R. with his Poles. Vana borrowed some of my French troops for the night, while John fielded the same Polish 12lb guns and infantry with slightly less cavalry than the previous game.

On my side of the board, my lesson learned from the previous week was to avoid the 12lb guns at all costs, and, if possible, to take them out early in the game. As a consequence, I stuck most of my infantry in the woods out of range of the guns, while my cavalry were to run interference with John's approaches.

My deployment closest to camera

The artillery was on the hills, while the infantry and cavalry awaited the enemy's approach

The general provides inspiration while planning his next move

The caalry moves up in line forward of the ridge, while the infantry moves into the woods

Reserves wait for the counter-attack, if required.

The highlanders form the extreme rightof the line, linking up with Pete's Brunswickers

On come the Poles!

Now, here comes my master-stroke (I can say that because it worked spectacularly; if it had failed it would have been a foolhardy wate of cavalry!).
Jon's infantry advanced in l'ordre mixte while the battalion to the left was ging to march up in closed column to fire on my cavalry. L:ike last game I decided to take the opportunity charge to stop him in a draw at best.

What I hadn't factored in was that I'd hit the anchored line first! I should have been repulsed with losses, but in the pre-melee, John rolled abysmally...

...which meant his right hand anchoring column and the line panicked and ran, and the nearest battery was over-run!

Finally, the object of my charge were contacted and with the numbers of friendly troops running and my following up a victory, they couldn't withstand the mighty British cavalry either!
Huzzah! Death or Glory, boys!

A close range dose of 12lb canister sent them back to where they started from next turn, though. Still, it put a dent in John's plans for quite a few turns and gave me the breathing space I needed!

My Rifles peppered the remaining Polish front-line, disordering them as they advanced.

My heroic light dragoons take a breather behind the horse gun battery. cheered on by the cavalry general.

The Polish infantry remorselessly advance, under fire from the riflemen every step of the way

My other light dragoon regiment protect the riflemen's flank, facing John's cuirrassiers. The general had moved to where he looked to be needed next, attaching himself to the regiment

Not a moment too soonm as the cuirassiers charged! I felt relatively confident as there's not too much difference in factors between British cavalry and French/Polish cuirassiers, so I met them in a counter-charge.

It doesn't help when you roll a 1 in the melee, though!

Run away!Obviously, John rolled better than one...

...and won a smashing victory!

The Buffs enter the woods on the hill
As John's infantry advanced, I tried to envelop his flank approach, without exposing mine too much.

His remaining 12lb battery was chipping away at the cavalry, which I was hoping to keep as a deterrent to his infantry, but they were melting like snow under his artillery's tender mercies.

My now cavalry-less right flank was also looking like a target for attack, especially the battery on the hill.

On the other flank, Vana was preparing a brigade chage on Pete's line
On their far flank, their cavalry clashed...

...without a conclusive result. 

Pete's infantry closed column then blocked any further cavalry action. Shortly after this, Vana put his infantry charge in, resulting in a Pyrrhic victory to Pete, but that was enough for Vana to throw in the towel and admit defeat. Huzzah!

Things begin to look grim on my flank as John's previously repulsed infantry have regrouped and advance, threatening to outflank me! My cavalry have finally been forced off the hill by artillery fire, as well.

John approaches the hill, with the riflemen peppering their every move

In the centre, John's hussars charge a formation of Brunswick infantry on Pete's far left. Even fire from my artillery doesn't slow them down!

Meanwhile, my artillery has probelmes of its own. A Polish infantry column approaches, entering dead ground just on the opportunity fire range, meaning I have no chance of opening fire as they advance.

My previously routed cavalry rally.

With the end of the night approaching and the fact that Vana had been repulsed, the game was ended with a British / Brunswick victory. It would have been interesting if we'd had time to bring John's attack to fruition. With my flanks under threat, it would have been interesting, though I still had reserves available on either flank. I think my very lucky cavalry charge at the beginning saved my bacon, as John could have developed his attack a lot earlier if I hadn't mauled that wing so early on.

I think I'd like to play this again on a Saturday with more points and play it through to a defintie conclusion. It was a lot of fun (especially when my suicidal cavalry charge came good!) and could result in some bloody clashes, if the infantry could ever get to grips.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Anglo-Brunswick vs. Franco-Polish = My Hovercraft is Full of Eels

Przywołać na armat!

Somehow this game didn't end up like the Monty Python Hungarian Phrasebook sketch with all those different nationalities represented on the table

Pete E. and I played John R. and Paul last Saturday. I had a British force and Pete a mixed Anglo-Brunswick force. I faced John with his Poles while Pete took on Paul's French. It really was a tale of two battles, with Pete and Paul going hammer and tongs against each other, while John and I spent most of the game facing off and trying find a chink in the others' armour. In contrast Paul and Pete indulged in charge and counter charge, with their dead piles growing impressively. I think John suffered 4 casualty figures all game, while mine was slightly larger, mainly due to his artillery, but more on that later.

The Anglo-Allied force; my British in the foreground and Pete's Anglo-Brunswickers at the top of the picture.

The Franco-Polish side won the initiative, so they got to move first, including John's large heavy cavalry brigade.

His infantry moved up in line masking his limbered artillery.

I moved up my guns and infantry with heavy dragoons supporting the artillery. I was expecting the gap between the woods and the town to be a crucial sector

On the other flank, my new unit of light dragoons went into action with artillery support

Another regiment of LD in column was positioned in support, so I wasn't too worried about the threat from the cuirrassiers. British LD are not too far off cuirassiers in quality, so with artillery support, I felt relatively safe on that flank. Most of the infantry was sheltering in the woods, safe from the enemy cavalry's tender mercies, too.

In the centre, my infantry are passed by Pete's Brunswick hussars who move up in support of his British infantry brigade.

John clears his infantry from in front of his artillery which had unlimbered. Once they fired, I found out where most of his points went; 3 batteries of 12lb artillery! On his first roll he destroyed 4 guns automatically with a 50% chance of destroying a 5th. Of course, he successfully rolls for the 5th gun! My battery started with 6 guns; after that one turn it was reduced to only 1!

They survived the resulting morale test (somehow!), limbered the remaining gun and attempted to get out of the way. The heavy dragoons backed up pretty quickly, too!

My infantry then tried to take shelter as best as possible in the town, taking advantage of the buildings' shadows.

My skirmish screen then tried to inflict damage on any advance by the Polish infantry, while my main line tried to shelter in the woods behind the hill, out of range of the 3 12lb batteries.

In an inversion of the usual pattern, Paul's French had seized the ridge and Pete's British had the job of dislodging them.

John's infantry had taken up a good defensive position to support his death-dealing guns.

But if we're both on the defensive, who can win? I sent my LD column forward to the crest of the hill to take advantage of any opportunity.

On the other flank, the best idea was to take cover!

My heavy dragoons copped a casualty even at that long range, so I tried to mask them with the buildings

I transferred some more infantry to the woods, as that's where I thought the crisis point would develop.  The lone artillery piece was still around, but couldn't get out of range of the Polish guns.  Next move John blew it to bits!

On the other flank, Pete and Paul had a cavalry stoush, which on paper should have been a French victory, but Pete rolled well and Paul rolled terribly, plus the fact that 2 French battalions had already broken, meant that Paul's dragoons broke and ran!

John's infantry tried to make an aggressive move in closed column against my cavalry. Instead of allowing him to march up and fire, I took the opportunity charge option, met him at the top of the crest and stopped his advance in an inconclusive draw. Just the ticket!

Pete's brunswickers made a great showing on the rightsticking it up Paul's hapless French...

...while his British held the line in the centre.

On my flank, a wide open gap developed between the town and the woods. Anything in that gap was vapourised by the big 12lb batteries!

Even the woods didn't provide a lot of cover, as my highlanders discovered!

Pete caused a brief stir when his hussars charged straight ahead. The battery fired and retired into the infantry square, while the French line infantry soiled their breeches, just missing out on being trampled under-foot!

My heavy cavlry paid the price for being caught in the open traversing the battelfield, losing another 2 figures. They just laughed, shrugged and carried on! Morale test? What's that?

I consolidated the infantry in the centre behind the hill, while the cavalry placed a vedette on the crest alongside the skirmish line and waited for the Poles' next move.

The cuirrassiers' view of my new unit of LD.

The LD in the foreground were holding the French cuirrassiers at bay while the suprting guns took a figure each time they fired!. John kept reversing, and I kept following, hoping to get the chance to unleash a charge. I din't want to get too far ahead of the the rest of my line though.

John tried a cavalry charge from the centre, using a column of hussars against my line. My cavalry behind the hill took the opportunity charge and met them on the crest.

Even though I was in line against his column, we were too well matched in every other regard, including dice rolling, so we basically ended up where we started from with a casualty and disorder each. My line still stood, though.

John charged his other hussar unit against the flank of Pete's British line. I took a figure as he passed the buildings I'd occupied, but it wasn't enough to save Pete's regiment which broke into the woods.

I brought out one of my infantry regiments from the buildings to try and deter any thoughts of mischief!

Back on my flank, I was trying to get the heavies around the back to be able to play a role against the cuirassiers, while trying to keep the rest of my forces out of harm's way. The Polish guns were nibbling at my right flank as they improved their angle each turn.

I decided to put the cavalry back in the front line in order to meet any attack, an infantry square behind it, and infantry back in the forest to be able to launch a counter-attack against any Polish infantry attack.

John's hussrs come waltzing around my rear areas, so I turned the heavy dragoons around again to face the threat.

On Pete's flank, things were coming to a head; a mass charge against Paul's attack succeeded into breaking the French...

...while his line managed to push back the French on the hill. Pete asked Paul for a divisional morale check, which Paul duly lost; his whole division broke!

My last hurrah was a failed morale chack after my cavalry lost one too many casualties from gunfire and retired.

It's amazing how different both sides of the tabel were, with Pete and Paul engaging in a real bloodbath, while John and I danced around each other, neither of us able to get the upper hand.

Oh well, at least I didn't lose!

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